Working for a Living for March 14, 2013

For Weekly SurgeMarch 12, 2013 

Melinda Tennyson: All About Bubby

Melinda Tennyson, 43, has been a Myrtle Beach resident for nearly two years, and she is one of the lucky few to have experienced kismet in a very real way on the Grand Strand.

Originally from Mount Vernon, Ohio, she pursued sports journalism at Ohio Wesleyan University, was sports editor for the university’s newspaper, The Transcript and wrote for the public relations office for the Ohio Wesleyan Magazine. She also wrote sports-related stories for the Mount Vernon News.

When in school, she met Gardiner Lawrence, a student a year behind her. “We had this place called The Mub, where you could get food and the mailboxes were there,” she says. “He saw me there and apparently I smiled at him, and he says he has been in love with me ever since.” The problem was that the pair never dated in college because Lawrence was told by Tennyson’s roommate that she wouldn’t ever date him because she liked another guy. Gentleman that he was, Lawrence gave up.

In 2005, Tennyson was on vacation in Myrtle Beach. She wound up at [now defunct] Murray Bros. Caddyshack at Broadway at the Beach. “They were slow in seating us, so I said ‘let’s just go up to the bar.’” The bartender was none other than Lawrence. They began a correspondence on Facebook, and Tennyson came back down here twice to visit him. The second time, she never left – and the two are now engaged. Kismet.

At the beginning of the year, Tennyson and Lawrence (who was featured in Surge as Hot Pour bartender in 2007) started a business called Yaz’s Yummies [ www.yazsyummies.com], a natural dog treat company named after their dog, Yaz.

“I was tired of going to the grocery store and spending a lot of money on things that I knew just weren’t really healthy for Yaz [AKA Bubby] – and he would seem like he didn’t have any energy after I gave these things to him. He just seemed sluggish,” she says. “I thought I’d try something else, so I looked at some recipes and did some research on foods that dogs could eat – and decided to come up with something myself.”

After feeding her concoction containing oats, peanut butter and whole wheat flour to Yaz, Tennyson says he seemed to have a lot of energy. The next step was sending some of the treats to Thoroughbreds Chophouse & Seafood Grille, where Lawrence is assistant general manager. “The chef there has dogs and some other people there have dogs – and their dogs loved them too.”

Tennyson says things are going well, considering the site has been live for only a couple of months. “We need to get it out there with more marketing. We have cards in certain shops and things like that really help us out.” She realizes that changing a person’s habits from picking up treats at the store to ordering online can be a challenge. “But the thing is, these are so much healthier for your dog.”

Because Yaz’s Yummies are natural products, they need to be refrigerated or, for multiples, frozen. The line includes the original concoction, Bubby’s Bites, along with Bubby’s Bacon Bites and Bubby’s Beachy Boners, which are bone-shaped treats. This month Yaz’s Yummies is rolling out Bubby's Fleas "B" Gone Biscuits, loaded with ingredients that are natural flea repellents including garlic, celery and dill.

Since Tennyson has vacationed here many times, she knows the lay of the land. She is enamored of Brookgreen Gardens. “I love it there – the flowers and the sculpture – it’s amazing. I also love Huntington Beach (State Park) because they have alligators sunning themselves on the rocks.” She enjoys scrapbooking and bicycling, and her dream is to write a book.

She and Lawrence count Banditos Mexican Cantina on the Boardwalk as a favorite haunt. And she says she is insane when it comes to college football. “I love Notre Dame, and this year was so fabulous until they lost.”

Tennyson says she wants to continue coming up with new things that will make dogs happy and eventually get a storefront. “We want to dream big – maybe making it nationwide. Who knows?”

Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 A Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at rgyale@gmail.com.

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